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Waterloo Quarter BID expands into Southwark

The Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance is to expand its operations into Southwark following a ballot of local businesses - but only 32 per cent of eligible businesses bothered to vote.

Business improvement districts (BIDs) work to improve defined areas as a place to do business through investment funded by a levy on the business rates paid by local firms. There are three BIDs in SE1 covering Waterloo, Bankside and London Bridge.

The Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance (WQBA) has operated in the part of Waterloo that falls within the borough of Lambeth since 2006. Last year it launched its proposals to become a cross-borough BID by establishing a parallel improvement district in the section of Waterloo (west of Blackfriars Road) that lies in the borough of Southwark.

Businesses in the Southwark extension area had 28 days to vote on the BID plan.

The results, announced on Friday, demonstrate that 84 per cent of businesses were in favour of WQBA's proposal and as such will be formally part of the Waterloo Quarter BID from 1 April.

However only 37 eligible businesses bothered to cast their vote, with 31 of those votes in favour.

Physical improvements include the introduction of flower baskets, year-round decorative lights and graffiti removal; business development activity has involved boosting trade through marketing projects to attract more people to the area and encouraging business-to-business trade and networking across the area.

The Southwark BID extension will generate 250,000 of income for WQBA in addition to the 270,000 already received from businesses in the Lambeth part of the Waterloo Quarter area.

The cash will be spent on environmental improvements and measures to promote business activity in the area.

WQBA intends to use its enhanced position to provide all the business in the area with a free recycling service, initially for paper and card, but with a view to expanding the offer to other waste types such as glass and plastic in the future.

The alliance also plans to expand the Waterloo Carnival – due to take place this year on 11 July – and the Waterloo Christmas event to increase involvement with the local business community.

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